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For the genus of scale insects, see Coccus (insect).
"Cocci" redirects here. For the fungal disease, see Coccidioidomycosis.
Arrangement of cocci bacteria.svg
Staphylococcus bacteria

Coccus (plural cocci) can be used to describe any bacterium that has a spherical, ovoid, or generally round shape.[1] It is one of the three distinct bacterial shapes, the other two being bacillus (rod-shaped) and spiral-shaped cells.

Coccus is an English loanword of a Neolatin noun, which in turn stems from the Greek masculine noun kokkos (κόκκος) meaning "berry".[2]


Cocci may occur as single cells or remain attached following cell division. Those that remain attached can be classified based on cellular arrangement:[1]


  1. ^ a b Pommerville, J.C. (2013). Fundamentals of Microbiology (10th ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett. p. 106. ISBN 9781449647964. 
  2. ^ κόκκος. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project